Bob Amster

Principal, Retail Technology Group

Mr. Amster has served the retail and distribution industries as both a Consultant and Systems Manager since 1971. He currently heads The Retail Technology Group, an independent consulting firm.

Bob was a Senior Manager with the Northeast Retail Consulting Group of Ernst & Young. Prior to joining Ernst & Young, Mr. Amster held Systems Management positions for large retailers such as Kmart Apparel, Waldenbooks, and Caldor. In addition, he has consulted to retail, distribution, and software companies since 1985.

Bob’s hands-on experience encompasses strategic planning; operational reviews; and systems design and implementation. He specializes in needs assessments; software analyses, selection and implementation; operational procedures and process improvement; and systems integration. His project experience includes numerous engagements in the evaluation, selection and implementation of merchandising, financial, warehouse and store systems packages.

Additionally, Bob has served as interim head of IT for Barneys New York and Shane Company, and as interim head of the Store Systems Group for Savers, Inc.

Bob also has provided due diligence assistance to a number of private equity firms and has served the advisory board of retailers and of a number of e-commerce merchants, to whom he provided retail industry perspective.

  • Posted on: 10/22/2021

    Amazon rolls out in-store pickup and local delivery for marketplace sellers

    Amazon Local Selling is yet another enhancement to the Amazon customer experience. While I don't know exactly how Amazon and the merchants' systems interface, this looks like a real winner for all three parties: the customer, the marketplace seller, and Amazon. Definitely a game changer for Internet marketplaces, again, led by Amazon. They never rest.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2021

    Is retail in danger of getting burned out?

    Most retailers have been at least one step behind other industries in demonstrating their appreciation for their frontline employees, often treating them as dispensable resources. Some retailers have come to realize that much more is needed to be done to make employees feel wanted, engaged in the company's business and trained, and that it is important to provide a pleasant working environment. This is a watershed moment for all retail to put those concepts into practice.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Will physical and digital retail operations perform better on their own?

    Well, I am glad I am not alone!
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Is it time for retailers to retire ‘offensive’ Halloween costumes?

    Nothing can beat my home-made costume of Groucho Marx as Captain Spaulding, and he offended everyone (in a funny way). Retailers should monitor the demand for so-called "offensive" costumes for adults and decide what to put out on the selling floor. But for children, use common sense (thank you Rich Kizer).
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Instacart aims to transform in-store shopping with smart cart/checkout acquisition

    Well, this industry veteran missed the point. These Casper carts appear to be designed for the convenience of the consumer that shops in the retail store. I fail to make the connection to Instacart, unless Instacart plans to use these same carts, in the retail partners' stores, to pick online orders and deliver them to the consumer. That may work.
  • Posted on: 10/20/2021

    Will physical and digital retail operations perform better on their own?

    I can't believe that after espousing unified commerce for the last two or three years, and omnichannel commerce before that, and multichannel before that, that the industry is having this conversation. I believe that the move by HBC with Saks was 90 percent financially motivated. If a retailer separates e-commerce from stores, it must maintain the systems integration that present one face to the consumer. It's doable, but not easily as two separate companies. Think "back to silos."
  • Posted on: 10/19/2021

    Get ready for the ‘IOU Christmas’

    With an accent and the "old" part. Oh, those "Casablanca" days... :-)
  • Posted on: 10/19/2021

    Is the privacy paradox being resolved?

    We cannot generalize on this issue. Some people will hold their privacy concerns near and dear to their hearts. Others will weigh the risk/reward factor and continue providing personal information for the sake of bargains, deals and the convenience of shopping or schmoozing online. A third group will charge blindly into the ether of the market and wreak havoc on their own privacy.
  • Posted on: 10/19/2021

    Get ready for the ‘IOU Christmas’

    I am going to go out on a limb here and predict that the supply chain issues plaguing the retail industry today will have an unintended consequence much like pandemic has had on future store operations, and that is that retailers will realize that they can start the holiday selling season closer to the holiday itself. It is the demand that drives the sales, not the calendar.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2021

    Is Amazon 4-Star a winner?

    The challenge to Amazon is to gather enough interesting products to make up an appealing assortment. The upside is that the products are known winners when they hit the 4-Star stores.
  • Posted on: 10/15/2021

    Are brands about to take over the produce department?

    Branded produce will make it easier for consumers to purchase what they find to be their favorite version of produce. The downside is that consumers and society will have to deal with more packaging of which to dispose. Potatoes, apples and cucumbers do not need to be packaged. Maybe a brand sticker like the PLU stickers would work?
  • Posted on: 10/15/2021

    Just how casual will wardrobes become?

    Much to my chagrin, casual dress has taken over. However there is casual and there is tasteless and we should not confuse the two. Elegant sport clothing can be comfortable and attractive. Until suits make a comeback (if ever), I vote for elegant casual.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    Will visual search bring eyeballs to Google Shopping?

    It may not be a game changer but it certainly is an important improvement. Many people shop visually and more images cannot hurt Google.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2021

    Wawa goes big on self checkout tech

    Self checkout technology will continue to be deployed, albeit gradually. The most likely version to be deployed in the next five years (because of the cost factor of some of its competing technologies) is scan and go. Just Walk Out is expensive at this time.
  • Posted on: 10/13/2021

    Stores? Kroger don’t need no stinking stores

    I suspected that, but you said it!

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